By JESS WEBSTER
Redland struggled in 2018 with only one win in a season where three players showed they are a cut above the rest, but ultimately several chances went begging for the wooden spooners.
Here is the Bombers’ season in review.
By the Numbers
Ladder position: 10th
Last year: 8th
Top 5 NEAFL MVP votes
26: Jack Rolls
25: Matt Hammelmann
22: Tom Salter
14: Adrian Williams
12: Jackson Paine
Snapshot: It started as a season full of promise for Redland as the Bombers were confident of improving on their eight-placed finish in 2017. Their first victory didn’t come until Round 4 against NT Thunder in Alice Springs, but it failed to kick-start their season with several chances falling through the cracks. Despite boasting the competitions’ best fullback Adrian Williams, and twin towers Matt Hammelmann and Jackson Paine up forward, the Bombers lost six games by four goals or less as they slumped to the bottom of the ladder.
Highlight: Redland’s highlight was their only win of the year – but they certainly did it in style. With nine goals from ANZAC medallist Matt Hammelmann, the Bombers tore NT Thunder apart in the second half for a confidence-boosting 35-point victory in Round 4. Tom Salter, Damian Steven and Jack Rolls all had 30+ disposals in a great day out for the club.
Lowlight: By season’s end, Redland was on its last legs and had to front up to Fankhauser Reserve to take on a mighty Southport side aiming to clinch the minor premiership. The Sharks simply tore the Bombers apart, booting 10 goals to 2 by half-time on their way to a 98-point victory – keeping the Bombers to their third lowest NEAFL score of 4.11 (35).
Star Power: The big three of Williams, Hammelmann and Paine certainly gave Bombers’ fans something to cheer about in season 2018 as the trio were worthy selections in the NEAFL Team of the Year. Both Williams (key defender) and Paine (key forward) were ranked No.1 in Champion Data ranking points in the competition for their respective positions, whilst Hammlemann won the league’s leading goalkicker award with 60 majors – an outstanding effort for a side which finished on the bottom of the ladder.
What’s Next: The Bombers will have a new coach next year with former club games record holder Phil Carse returning to lead the club as they look to begin a new era. Adding more midfield depth is essential to match it with the best sides in the competition, whilst nurturing a seemingly steady flow of young talent that comes through the club will give Bombers fans something to look forward to in the coming years.
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